LSU Football: Tigers find their new defensive coordinator

LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

LSU football is on the verge of hiring a new defensive coordinator to replace Bo Pelini.

Jane Slater, who covers the NFL for the NFL Network, reported on Monday afternoon that New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen is finalizing a deal to become the Tigers’ new defensive coordinator.

“Nielsen met with Sean Payton and told him of his intention to take the job earlier today,” tweeted Slater.

The Tigers attempted to hire Marcus Freeman earlier this month. Freeman ended up leaving the Cincinnati Bearcats to become the new defensive coordinator at Notre Dame.

A familiar face for LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron

The hiring of Nielsen shouldn’t come as a big surprise. He’s someone that I (as well as many others) have been mentioning as a possibility for several weeks.

Nielsen played under Orgeron at USC in the late 90s. He also coached with Orgeron in the mid-2000s at Ole Miss (Nielsen served as the Rebels’ defensive line coach).

LSU’s new defensive coordinator (if the deal is completed as expected) has been with New Orleans since the 2017 season as the Saints’ defensive line coach. Prior to his time in New Orleans, Nielsen served as defensive line coach at NC State.

Nielsen doesn’t have any power-5 defensive coordinator experience, which is the downside to hiring him.

He’s not completely inexperienced, though, when it comes to being a defensive coordinator. Nielsen was a co-defensive coordinator at Northern Illinois in 2012. He was also the defensive coordinator at Central Connecticut State from 2008-2009.

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That experience might not sound impressive on a resume, but I think it will absolutely help him find success in his new role at LSU.